Filing a Wrongful Death Complaint

Filing a wrongful death complaint is important if a loved one died as a result of someone else’s negligent or intentional acts. A wrongful death complaint is a special type of tort, in which the survivors of a person who died sue the person responsible for that death. It is a civil action, or a tort, and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit seek monetary damages.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Complaint?

Wrongful death survivors with a close personal relationship with the deceased are entitled to file a wrongful death complaint. Wrongful death requirements stipulate that all immediate family members, such as a husband and wife or children, are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim. Specific state laws vary regarding which other wrongful death survivors are eligible to sue, although many states also make provisions for parents to sue for wrongful death of children.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Requirements

Wrongful death lawsuit requirements stipulate that in order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, the victim must have died as a result of the breach of duty committed by someone else. A wrongful death action can be brought for negligence- such as a car accident, or medical malpractice or injury on someone’s property. A wrongful death action can also be brought for intentional actions such as murder.

Action must be brought within the wrongful death statute of limitations. This varies by state, and can be affected by other factors such as when the family found out about the death, or whether the victim died immediately or was ill for a period.

The wrongful death survivors must have also incurred damages as a result of the death. This means that they must have suffered some type of compensable loss.

What are Wrongful Death Damages?

Wrongful death damages usually include tangible things, such as medical bills, funeral costs, and the wages or income that the deceased person would have shared with the wrongful death survivors if the death had not occurred. For example, if a man dies who is making $50,000 a year and he is 25, his widow may be entitled to the lost wages he would have brought in over the course of his working life, based on his projected salary figures.

In addition to the tangible factors, there are other intangible damages. For example, wrongful death survivors may receive damages for pain and suffering that they endured as a result of the death. They may also receive damages for loss of companionship. These factors are the reason why there is no one standard sample wrongful death claim. These intangible factors essentially try to determine the value of a life, and are very subjective and tend to vary from situation to situation.

Help from a Lawyer

The potential damages associated with a wrongful death action can be substantial. A qualified wrongful death attorney can help you to prove your case, fulfill the requirements of a wrongful death action, and even determine how the court will determine the a value of a life.

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